Wednesday, January 16

No time for poetry? You’re missing a trick

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Breaks – for poems – can raise your productivity

World Poetry Day? The very thought fills you with foreboding, probably as a result of being forced to learn or critique some piece by a Dead White Male while you were at school. And now you’re a whizz-bang business leader there’s no time for any fripperies – right?


I’m not going to make a case for force-feeding your contact centres with inspirational poems of the day or worse, have your staff sing the company song before starting a shift (probably because you don’t have one – if so, good on you).

But it’s worth remembering that taking time out to read a poem gives you a few minutes of reflection and according to many writers, taking a break is a key productivity tool.

Confession time: I’m quite bad a taking regular breaks and can often let tasks drag on for too long before recognising that I’m no longer productive – I suspect many other people are too.

In business, taking a break is still see as somehow shirking: can you remember the last time anyone in a meeting suggested a stretch break before the meeting heads into it’s second, less productive hour. A poem break would be an even better idea.

I’m keeping this short so that if you’ve taken a break to read it, you can soon get back to whatever you were doing. Or maybe read a poem? If you want one now, here’s one of my favourite bits of Shakespeare which often feels relevant to my working day. It’s Brutus, in Julius Caesar, before going into battle…

“O, that a man might know
The end of this day’s business ere it come!
But it sufficeth that the day will end,
And then the end is known.”


About Author

Business strategist, consultant and change manager who helps companies become genuinely customer-centric. Nick delivers customer-driven business transformation projects and has worked across many industries including banking and finance, insurance, telecommunications, industrial and public sector. Has held senior roles with variety of blue chip names including BT, Royal Bank of Scotland, CSC and Sema Group. Currently Head of Delivery at NextTen Innovation Solutions

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